Young and Credible?
I have had a couple of conversations lately about the struggle to achieve credibility in some circles if you happen to be young and female.
I remember myself being part of a church leadership team, and raising an issue over and over for about 6 months. Then one day a young man raised the same issue, and it was dealt with on the spot. My jaw had to be pretty much scraped off the floor with my astonishment.
It's almost like if you raise an issue tactfully and sensitively, it can be completely overlooked when you are a young woman. On the other hand, if you are a young woman and raise an issue forcefully, you face a different but also problematic issue. I quote below from a young articulate woman (with permission, from another blog) who has observed a double standard on voicing opinions:
'I think that I live in a world where it's ok for young men to have opinions, to be articulate, and to be interested in teasing out issues, while I and other young women with similar attributes are seen as "exhausting", "nit-picking", "opinionated", "competitive" etc. This isn't just something that happens on blogs - I've experienced it in church meetings far more often. I've said things and been told that I'm "nit-picking" (or similar), and then I've heard young men use the same arguments, and even the same vocabulary, and be praised for being "wise". Am I being paranoid? Perhaps - but I know that I have a few older male friends who have witnessed these accusations being thrown at me, and their perception of what occurred, and the gendered aspects of it, is identical to mine.'
It seems to me if you're too gentle in advancing opinions, it's easy to be dismissed or overlooked entirely it's like you are not heard at all. On the other hand, if you argue an opinion with some passion, you can be viewed in quite negative terms. Is this a no-win situation? Are times changing? Is the church changing? Do you just have to wait until you're older before you will be taken seriously? What are your experiences?